Is there a rusty death trap sitting in your driveway? Have you been pondering an upgrade for the family vehicle and just haven’t wandered down to the dealership? My thoughts are that it might have something to do with the anxiety of facing the salesman, manager, F&I and whoever else will be there, trying to compel you to spend more and more of your hard earned dollars. Certainly, you want to get the right vehicle to meet your needs but you don’t want to fall prey to any fast-talk or tricky maneuvering. If you don’t already have a “friend in the business” then you need to show up prepared to get the vehicle you need at a price you can stomach.
If you have a trade-in, get it cleaned very nicely. While salespeople will tell you that they don’t take off points for a messy car, it’s simply not true. If your car looks like it wasn’t cared for on the interior, often times the appraiser will be lead to believe that the negligence might extend under the hood. If you don’t have a trade, optimize your knowledge going in.
This article can help you get more organized from a strategic standpoint but it is definitely upon the buyer to come into a dealership knowledgeable about the specific vehicle they have interest to buy. By not relying on the salesperson for information about features or pricing as much, you “owe him” less in the negotiation phase. Showing up with a folder filled with price and review printouts from popular websites is a red flag to the sales staff that you’re prepared and you won’t take bloated set of figures.
In the car business, everyone is focused on their numbers, their gross profit and their units per month. By doing your due diligence on the various models that interest you and by looking into market prices or current programs, you’ll avoid ending up as some car guy’s fat paycheck. Sure, everyone has to make a living but don’t put anybody’s kids through college just to get your new minivan. An informed and prepared buyer is a buyer with control. Asking for help on message boards, chat rooms and consumer sites before visiting the showroom will help you save time and money. Understanding as much as possible and being prepared is the key to better negotiating and an overall better buying experience.